Fairway woods often stay in a golfers bag for longer than any other club. These clubs can be difficult to fit and are can be very important in shooting your best scores. A properly fit fairway wood can give you relief off the tee on challenging golf holes and an option to go for those par-5s in two and leave yourself a chance at eagle or a two-putt birdie.
We golf course tested and fully reviewed all of the fairway woods in these guides, and wrote them just for you. Please take a look and let us know what you think!
Top 10 Best Fairway Woods for High Handicap Golfers
The following fairway woods are the best we have tested based on the unique strengths and characteristics of each model. Their overall playability, distance, accuracy, and forgiveness help make them a welcome addition to the golf bags of amateur golfers. Your specific needs in a fairway wood will vary and this guide will provide you with information that can make purchasing your new club simple and straightforward.
When Do You Use A Fairway Wood?
Fairway woods are some of the most versatile golf clubs in your bag. They can be used on the tee box, from the fairways, from the rough, or for chipping around the greens on tight lies. The multipurpose functionality of these golf clubs is what makes them so important in your set but also tricky to fit effectively.
Finding the Best Fairway Wood for Your Golf Game
Your ideal fairway wood will depend on how you use this club. Some golfer will use their fairway woods as driver replacements and always strike the ball from a tee. Other players prefer their driver and will only need their fairway woods when coming into longer par-4s or par-5 holes. Depending on the length of the golf course you play, you may have to use your fairway wood in multiple situations. Choosing a fairway wood that is tailored to your needs can help make golf easier.
How much money you can allocate to your fairway wood set may determine which models you test. Because fairway woods are tasked to hit specific distances, getting the newest model may not provide any additional benefit to your golf game. Purchasing used or prior generation fairway woods can be a great way to save money and improve your golf bag.
Top Fairway Wood Features
Like golf clubs in other categories, fairway woods share common features that help golfers select the best model for them. Taking a closer look at each of these factors will help you know what to look for. Your club head of choice, a complementary shaft, and your grip will all help create a setup that gets you hitting better shots more often.
The impact of the golf shaft cannot be overlooked but is grossly misinterpreted by many golfers. Golf shafts come in a range of different weights, flexes, bend profiles, and price points that offer golfers different advantages and disadvantages. The easiest way to evaluate the role the golf shaft plays in your game is to think of it as the device that is going to help you deliver your golf club to the golf ball. You want something that helps you to deliver the club in the best way possible the most often.
Most commonly, your fairway wood shaft will be the same flex as your driver shaft and be 10 to 20-grams heavier. This difference in weight helps balance the club due to the shorter length than standard drivers. Faster swinging players tend to use heavier golf shafts with stiffer flexes. It is not uncommon to see some of the strongest players using 70 and 80-gram fairway shaft with stiff or extra-stiff flexes. Slower swinging players may enjoy the feel of lighter, softer shafts in the 50, 60, or 70-gram ranges in a variety of senior, regular, or stiff flexes. Generally, the bend profile of the fairway shaft will have a more active tip section than your driver shaft to help you hit shots higher into the air, especially when coming from the fairways and rough.
These recommendations are simply guidelines and the best practice is to test different shafts with various fairway wood heads to find your ideal match. It is uncommon that the shaft you use in your driver will be the same as the one that is best in your fairway, but this does happen, so do not discount the possibility completely.
Fairway woods vary in head size and shape a great deal. These differences often lead to performance characteristics that help tailor different wood models to different golfers and golf swings. Smaller-headed fairway woods may launch lower and spin less. These clubs are best when striking a golf ball that is teed up and can act as a driver replacement. Larger-headed fairway woods tend to be higher launching and ideal for players who want a club to be used from the ground and rough.
The loft of your fairway wood will have a large impact on how far the golf ball travels after it is struck. Depending on your swing type and speed, lower lofted fairway woods may be difficult to launch and rob you of distance. Amateur golfers can often hit a 5-wood or even 7-wood further than a 3-wood will less loft. Knowing how far you need your fairway wood to travel will help you and your club fitter find the best balance for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Club fitting can be a difficult process, we have provided some common questions and answer to help simplify your experience.
Q: Driver vs Fairway Woods: What is the Difference?
A: The biggest differences between a driver and a fairway wood are its head size, loft, and design of purpose. Drivers are almost exclusively used on the teeing ground. Since many of them are well over 400cc, drivers are extremely difficult to hit off the ground, even if they have close to the same loft as a fairway wood. Drivers feature large surface areas which make the sweet spot larger and provide more forgiveness when the golf ball is resting on a tee. Fairway woods are designed with smaller heads and lower profiles, which allow players to hit the ball from the fairway, rough, and fairway bunker as well as a tee.
Q: What is the Difference Between a 3 Wood and a 5 Wood (3 Wood vs 5 Wood)?
A: In general, 3-woods will have slightly less loft and a longer shaft length. Depending on your golf swing, the distances these two clubs produce can be the same or very different. Do not be afraid to test both options to see which suits you better.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Fairway Wood and a Hybrid? (Fairway Wood vs Hybrid)?
A: Hybrids are designed with the clubface similar to an iron. These smaller bodied golf clubs excel at striking the golf ball from various lies around the golf course. Fairway woods and hybrids can have the same loft but may travel different distances depending on your comfort level and abilities.
Q: How Do I Hit a Fairway Wood?
A: Since fairway woods are the longest club you will attempt to hit from the ground, they can be challenging. To help you get the most from your swing, try pushing your ball position slightly forward of center. Attempt to sweep the sole of the golf club along the top of the turf and into the back of the golf ball. If you are still struggling to hit your wood solidly, increasing the loft or shortening the shaft can help. Better contact with more loft can produce more distance when fit correctly.
Top 10 Best Fairway Woods
Callaway Epic Flash Fairway Wood
Flash Face is making the Epic Flash driver one of the best performing club on the market. Using the same design, Callaway engineers have created the Epic Flash fairway wood for higher ball speeds and more distance. Jailbreak and Flash Face combine to give players more speed across the face and longer, more accurate shots. Face cup technology helps deliver more forgiveness from forged 455 carpenter steel and a lightweight crown help make the Epic Flash easier to hit and easier to launch. Handicap golfers especially can benefit from the added protection of Jailbreak and any golfer struggling with their long game can improve their performance this season by getting into the new Epic Flash from Callaway.
PING G410 Fairway Wood
Ping has built upon the G400 fairway to make G410 even easier to hit. By aligning the center of gravity slightly lower in the club face, G410 is easier to hit high and more forgiving when coming from the ground or rough. More tungsten weight in the rear of the golf club improves stability and the forged face ensures maximum ball speeds. Consistently one of the most simple fairway woods to hit, Ping’s model for this season is an excellent choice for players that prioritize control over unsustained distance.
Tour Edge Exotics EXS Fairway Wood
Tour Edge Exotics makes some of the most simple to use fairway woods on the market. This lesser known brand loads technology into their fairway woods for outstanding performance and ease of use. The EXS fairway wood uses variable face thickness, a slipstream sole, and a forward weight position to give players more ball speed and better turf interaction. Extremely high MOI from the carbon fiber toe, the EXS gives players more protection when coming from the rough or non-ideal lies. If you have never tried a Tour Edge product or fairway wood, 2019 is the perfect time.
TaylorMade M6 Fairway Wood
For a simple approach to more performance in a fairway wood, the TaylorMade M6 is unrivaled. The M6 combines Twist Face and the Speed Pocket to give golfers more help in dispersion and forgiveness. By integrating TPU into the Speed Pocket, TaylorMade has improved the turf interaction of the M6 fairway and helps amateur golfers get more out of their performance. Lightweight carbon is used to help golfers swing more efficiently and low and rear centers of gravity help to make M6 high launching and more stable. M6 is perfect for the player that wants to maximize performance without the distractions of adjustable weights.
Cobra F9 Speedback Fairway
One of the most helpful technologies in fairway wood construction are built by Cobra. The Baffler rail system on the sole of the F9 fairway wood maximizes forgiveness and can be a relief for struggling golfers. Players who hit the ground often when attempting to hit a fairway wood can find more protection in the F9 model. Not just forgiving, the F9 is fast thanks to the first-ever CNC milled face from Cobra and enhanced aerodynamics. A fairway wood with similar performance to the biggest names in golf complimented with a standout feature can be a game-changer for amateur and handicap golfers.
TaylorMade M5 Fairway Wood
One of the most innovative and extreme designs ever in a fairway wood, the M5 uses a 65-gram sole weight to help players dial in their shot shape preference. This 65-gram mass accounts for more than 30% of the total head weight and is the largest moveable weight ever used on a golf club. The result is a more customized performance and a higher price tag. If you can justify the cost, the M5 fairway delivers on distance, dispersion, and forgiveness. Twist Face, titanium, and a carbon crown combine to give golfers more distance, more accuracy, and more custom fit options than ever before.
Callaway Epic Fairway Wood
One of the best fairway woods ever built, the original Epic fairway wood is one of the best options for players looking to upgrade their equipment without paying full price. The triaxial carbon crown and fourth generation face cup technology help make Epic long and forgiving even when compared to the newest fairway wood models. Golfers looking to save money without sacrificing performance should look at picking up the Epic fairway wood if they can get their hands on one.
TaylorMade M4 Fairway Wood
Another great option for a prior generation fairway wood is the TaylorMade M4. The M4 is available for less than $200 brand new and features much of the same technology as the updated M6. M4 uses the Speed Pocket and carbon crown to deliver distance to golfers coming from the tee box or turf. Split internal weighting and geocoustic technology give M4 higher ball speeds across the face and a more solid sound and feel. When fit properly for your swing, the M4 can offer maximum performance at a fraction of the original MSRP.
Titleist 917 F2 Fairway Wood
Titleist designed the 917 F2 fairway wood for consistency and performance. The 917 F2 is one of the largest club heads in the fairway wood class and is perfect for golfers seeking control and stability above all else. Remarkably stable on mishits, the 917 F2 is ideal for handicap golfers looking to upgrade their equipment and save money. Not just forgiving, the F2 packs explosive distance thanks to a variable thickness face insert and the active recoil channel. Traditionalists will appreciate the aesthetics and performance they can get in a budget fairway wood option.
Taylormade M3 Fairway Wood
One of the largest hurdles for buying previous generation golf equipment is the limitations of custom fitting. The TaylorMade M3 fairway wood solves this problem by giving golfers a rapid adjustable sole weight and hosel system. The M3 gives golfers the ability to dial in their launch, spin, and shot shape parameters without the added expense of seeing a professional club builder. If you are a serious golfer looking for custom fit performance but do not want to pay hundreds of dollars for your next fairway wood the M3 offers premium performance from a carbon crown, speed pocket, and improved geometry with the added benefit of a reduced price.
What Fairway Wood Should You Buy?
Choosing a fairway wood is a process of trial and error. Some commonalities exist between models and player profiles that help each golfer narrow their choices. The best way to know which club is best for you is to try several options and monitor your performance with each.
Knowing when you plan to use your fairway wood(s) most often will help you make your buying decision. Fairway woods that act as driver replacements may need to be smaller headed and lower spinning. Larger, higher launching fairway wood may be perfect in higher lofts for clubs that will be used to approach greens or keep you in play on narrow holes.
Getting the fairway wood correct can be a tedious process but it is well worth the effort. Fairway woods often become a mainstay in golfer’s bags when they find one they really like. Even many PGA Tour players will play fairway woods several years old because of their comfort level with the club. Test anything that you enjoy the look of behind the golf ball and when you find something that fits you compliment it with a shaft and grip you love. Thanks for reading and happy testing!